From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dismissed fresh speculations that it is planning to postpone the dates for the 2023 general elections.

It’s Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made the clarification while hosting the new Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig-General Dogara Ahmed, in Abuja, yesterday.   Some sections of the media had on Wednesday reported that the commission was planning to postpone the presidential and governorship election by two weeks. 

However, dismissing the report, the electoral umpire boss emphasized: “The election is holding as scheduled on February 25 and March 11 for presidential and governorship respectively.”

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He also updated the NYSC DG on measures the commission has put in place to ensure the protection and safety of corps members to be deployed as ad-hoc staff for the polls.

“The reality around the world is that no electoral commission conducts election on the strength of its own regular staff. All of them engage ad-hoc or temporary staff for the election. But, we are extremely fortunate in Nigeria to have these large pool of young, knowledgeable, patriotic Nigerians from all parts of the country engaged in important national assignments that can be deploy to support elections in the country.

“I have said this but I cannot be tired of saying so that there us no way the commission can conduct the elections without the involvement of the corps members. It is simply unimaginable that we can conduct the election without the NYSC,” he said.

The NYSC DG made special appeal for the protection and safety of the corps members, requesting the commission to train corps members in Enugu and Kano, the only two states that are yet to be trained for the poll.He said: “The commitment of NYSC to the MoU about election is unshakable. We will work tirelessly day and night to ensure that all the terms and conditions containing the MoU are followed to the letters. There have been fears and apprehension about insecurity towards the election about one or two things happening. But I can assure you that the corps members are ready to do their best. They will be proud to be part and parcel of the elections. “I want to thank the chairman and the commission for agreeing to improve on the welfare of the corps members because it will go a long way in motivating them. We are also glad that you have also made the security and safety of the corps members an issue of priority.”